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Subject: Re: Vishnevskaya
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 9 Jul 2018 10:02:28 -0700

text/plain (90 lines)

Chaliapin was the dominant singer of his time even more famous world wide
than Caruso, a huge force. We have no singers today who can compare to him
in any way except for Netrebko, but in a far lesser sense..

Vishnevskaya, a wonderful singer was never the top soprano in her time,
undoubtedly that was Callas.

There are surely many more important Russian sopranos, historically, than
Vishnevskaya, let's start with Medea Mei Figner (an Italian who became a
Russian colossus), Felia Litvinne, and probably the most important of all,
Antonina Nezhdanova.

(From my days of selling autographs, I never had anyone ask for one of
Vishnevskaya, though her husband Rostropovich was a brisk seller.)

Netrebko stands alone in this era, she has no rivals as a star, she's far
more famous than Vishnevskaya was, in that way she's like Chaliapin, but on
a much smaller stage, opera singers are no longer the world's premiere
entertainment stars as they were in Chaliapin's day, they barely register
in today's cultural zeitgeist and I doubt any of them including Netrebko
have an income to compare to the top pop singers. Like Chaliapin,
Netrebko's talents are less vocal than dramatic.  It's fair to ask if
Netrebko is the last international opera star. I believe she might prove to
be so, but one never knows what's around the corner and already sitting
here on the West Coast, I feel out of it a bit. But happily so!

Regarding Russian singers, there are some expert members of this list who
really know this subject much better than me!

James Camner


On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 1:55 AM, David Shengold <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "Galina Vishnevskaya was the most important and in my opinion (only), the
> greatest Russian singer of the twentieth century.  The range was immense,
> her qualities as an opera singer and as a singer of songs was unrivaled,
> and before hardness set in, the voice was so truly beautiful. etc"
> Agree with most all of whet you and others have writen about Vishnevskaya
> and her historical qualities vis a vis those of Netrebko, an excellent
> vocalist and increasingy exciting singing acrtess who - unlike
> Vishnevskaya-- has created no important music nor left no definite
> recordings of anything.
> I would remind everyone that besides the Moscow studio Verdi REQUIEM there
> is a live Leningrad Philharmonic performance  from 1960 under Melik-Pashaev
> with the staggering Irina Arkhipova instead of Nina Isakova as well as
> Vladimir Ivanovsky and Ivan Petrov ( who are on the Muscovite performance
> as well). I like both, but the live one better ( n.b. Ivanovsky, though a
> fine recorded Grigori/Dmitri, is not remotely in the
> Bjoerling/Bergonzi/Pavarotti class in this music).
> And still: "the greatest Russian singer of the twentieth century"? If you
> said 'female singer" I might agree, but what about Chaliapin? A total game
> changer for the art form in terms of vocalism and dramatic artistry who
> left his mark on many roles-- not only Russian ones--left a studio movie
> (Pabst's unforgettable DON QUIXOTE) and created much music ( including
> Ibert's songs for that movie, Massenet's DON QUICHOTTE, Rachmaninoff's
> cantata "Spring", Salieri in Rimsky's MOZART AND SALIERI. Internationally,
> Chaliapin's name and reputation were familiar to tens of thousands who
> never set foot inside an opera house or concert hall, as with Caruso or the
> Greek-American diva whose vocal perfection vis a vis her "Coca-Cola" rivals
> Takis has done so much here to  underline.
> -David Shengold

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